Keicher, Fellow Kane Co. Legislators Seek Updated Plan to Address Congestion & Safety Concerns Along Rt. 47

Rep. Jeff Keicher speaks with local law enforcement at a public safety summit held earlier this year.

To address traffic congestion and safety concerns for several communities in western Kane County along the Illinois Route 47 corridor, the state legislators who represent the affected communities have sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The legislators, State Representatives Jeff Keicher (R-Sycamore) and Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) and State Senators Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles) and Dave Syverson (R-Cherry Valley), are seeking an updated strategic planning study for the Rt. 47 corridor, which has not occurred since 1995.

“We feel there is a need to update the Strategic Regional Arterial plan under ‘Operation Greenlight’ for Route 47,” the legislators stated in the letter to IDOT Secretary Omer Osman. “This final report for Route 47 was published in 1995, and we think we can all agree reality has changed the dynamics of those recommendations.”

As noted in the letter, the Rt. 47 corridor between I-88 and I-90 is primarily one lane in each direction. Given this limited capacity, several communities are facing both capacity and safety concerns as communities have seen the expansion of residential and commercial development.

Amber Kubiak, Village President of Pingree Grove, one of the fastest growing communities in Illinois, said, “As our community’s population has grown exponentially from just 175 in 2005 to a reported 10,383 with the 2020 census and by another 10% since that time to where we are today with over 11,400 while growth continues, it is increasingly clear that Rt. 47, our main thoroughfare south of I-90, was not designed to accommodate the high traffic demands of today. During peak travel times, Rt. 47, being a single-lane road, experiences significant congestion often backing up by as much as a mile. The amount of traffic is affecting the quality of life for our residents’ daily routines and hindering our prospects for future commercial growth.”

In their request to IDOT, the legislators noted several specific concerns. Among them, school zone safety in Lily Lake, the need for a new realignment plan for the Union Pacific Railroad West Line in Elburn, pressures from land use development in Sugar Grove and Pingree Grove, and the large increases in Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT).

Elburn Mayor Jeff Walter said, “The increased freight traffic on the Union Pacific West Line is seeing nearly 100 trains a day come through. Add that to the increase in semi-truck traffic from more commercial facilities, and our community is experiencing increased safety concerns and an uptick in pollution and noise issues. Given it’s been nearly thirty years since the last IDOT strategic plan for Rt. 47, we need to get the ball rolling on a new one.”  

Concluding the request to IDOT, the legislators stated, “Considering the above, we are requesting that IDOT initiate an updated planning study that would identify improvement alternatives along Route 47. Knowing that major improvements of this type can take years to develop, it is imperative that we begin sooner rather than later so that the safety and mobility of our constituents can be protected.”

Copies of the letter were also sent to Governor JB Pritzker, the Kane County Division of Transportation, Kane County Board Chairwoman Corinne Pierog, and Board Members for Districts 2, 5, 9, 15, 18, the Villages of Campton Hills, Elburn, Lily Lake, Pingree Grove, Sugar Grove, and the Townships of Blackberry, Campton, Plato, Rutland, Sugar Grove.

A copy of the letter is available below. To date, IDOT has not responded to the request.